360 Degree Media Group Blog

Do Radio Commercials Work? Understanding Radio Ad Effectiveness

Posted by Amy Baker on Jan 28, 2014 8:00:00 AM

So much has changed over the last several years, from online marketing to the rise of mobile consumption and more. The new advertising landscape provides an array of options for the small business owner, yet, what about the good old radio?

Many may be quick to assume that radio ads are ineffective; however, this claim may often be based on an individuals’ subjective intuition rather than the facts. One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is that millions of people still get in the cars every day – and therefore the audience for radio advertising is very much alive and well. 

Radio Ad

So do people pay attention to radio ads? Regardless of format, the effectiveness of an ad is based on its quality. Meaning, you can have two radio ads that are on the same channel, and one will succeed while another will fail.

That’s because the effectiveness of the ad comes down to you, the small business owner, who must make sure that their ad dollars are well spent.

Ad dollars are well spent on the radio advertising when small business owners have a focused vision. In order to create an effective radio ad, you must follow the same rules as any other advertisement. First, understand whom you are trying to reach. Who is your target market? What radio station are they more likely to listen to? What time of day? Should you decide whether to run the ad during the workweek or on the weekend? These are all questions you must take into consideration.

For example, if you are in the hospitality industry, then it may be a good idea to run your radio commercial closer to the weekend rather than on a Monday. Similarly, if you are a professional services company, then you may want to consider running your radio ad on a Monday morning, when people are focused on what tasks they need to complete that week.

Effectiveness and Understanding Radio Commercials


Radio Advertising Revenue Is Up!

Radio is still a great place to be. According to Deloitte, in partnership with Commercial Radio Australia, metropolitan radio ad revenue is up by 2.99%, resulting in a total of about $302 million. In Sydney, radio ad revenue increased by 2.7% to $93.824 million over the last few months. It’s not a surprise – there have been nine months of consecutive growth for radio advertising overall, according to the same report.

Ultimately, as with television and online advertising, the radio audience is still massive – so there’s no need to worry about whether you will reach enough people – you will. What will make or break your radio ad campaign, however, is your strategy and approach.

If your radio ad isn’t attention grabbing, then go back to the drawing board and revisit the basics – is your ad timely and relevant? Is the commercial providing valuable information to the radio listener? These days, people pay attention when their wants or needs are addressed. At the same time, people tune out when they’re simply bombarded with a buzzy and meaningless sales pitch.


Millions of people still listen to the radio every day.

Whether they are running errands, commuting or travelling. The key is to understand the format of radio, and create your ad accordingly. When people are online or watching television, they are actively engaging in that experience alone. However, the radio is different, because people are focused on other activities while the radio plays in the background.

When people are passively listening to the radio, they’re actively focused on other things - paying attention to the road, to their passengers and their destinations. Instead of interrupting the flow, try instead to design a radio ad that fits seamlessly into the experience.

A good way to do some research on whether a radio ad is right for you is to simply get in your car, listen to a few commercials and see what works – and what doesn’t. Drive around and take notes – just not at the same time! Radio ads can be a great part of your marketing strategy, but it is important to get them for the right price.

If you would like to find out more about how you can measure your marketing success, download our free ebook: Closed-Loop Marketing. This free resource will explain how you can measure the metrics that matter and link your sales back to the marketing efforts that created them. Simply click the link below to download your free copy:


The 360 Degree Marketing Group Free Ebook On Closed Loop Marketing for Marketing Managers


Topics: radio advertising effectiveness, radio commercial, radio advertising, cost of radio ads